The 2017 live action version of Beauty and the Beast is now released on DVD as well as on iTunes and Google Play (in case you didn’t already know) and my little one is currently watching it on the tablet while eating some chicken nuggets (yes yes I know bad mommy for putting her in front of a screen but it’s not like I have her plopped down in front of it for twelve hours-another post for another time) so I figured this would be a perfect time to write about it as the songs play in the background.
Now when I say “it”, I’m not talking about just this version of Beauty and the Beast. I’m talking about the various versions that this story has inspired. Some I know of, some I don’t because there are at least hundreds of adaptions of the story released in the different types of media.
The original Beauty and the Beast fairy tale was written by a French Novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve all the way back in 1740 (quick math means the story itself is about 277 years old). The adaptation that remains closest to the original plot (that I have seen) is actually on Netflix at the moment which was released in 2014. But there still quite a bit of artistic liberties taken. Even the well known version of the “original” fairy tale was actually a watered down version as the original was more complex but in order to publish the author changed a few things the second time around (think opposite of Neil Gaiman when he edited American Gods for it’s tenth anniversary).
Going back to the 2014 Beauty and the Beast that is currently on Netflix, it is a French-German film and as much as I wanted to watch it in it’s original language, I was also taking care of my little one so I couldn’t keep my eyes on the screen the whole time. The dubbing is exceptionally well done though. The back story for why the Beast is the Beast is entirely different than the Disney version we are used to but he is cursed by a supernatural being so that stayed the same. I adored the costuming (this is a French film and as far as fashion stereotypes go it makes sense; American films should borrow French costume techniques and ideas in my opinion). I don’t want to give too much away so here is a picture of the film but I do recommend watching it if you like Beauty and the Beast as much as I do, or if you just want something to watch:
(see how pretty that blue dress is? And the beast’s costume? There’s more of the like in the movie)
Now we go back in time, about 26 years, to 1991 when the Disney animated adaption of Beauty and the Beast was released. I adored Belle pretty much immediately after I heard Paige O’Hara start singing in the opening song. I also felt a kinship to her because of her love of books and feeling odd compared to the people around her. The soundtrack was beautiful. Leading up to and the day of the release of the live action Beauty and the Beast I was playing this movie every day and singing along (off-key).
I haven’t seen the television shows because I was in high school still when the 2012 one started and I had a bedtime at 8 (parents woke up early for work and have ears like dogs so TVs were usually off by 7.45). I’m also the type of person that doesn’t like to jump in at anytime because I always feel like I’m missing something so I’m going to binge watch it on Netflix (once I finish all the other shows I’m supposed to be binge watching). I didn’t even know about the 1987 until I did my quick Google search. A quick overview that I read about the from 2012 puts it in the suspenseful supernatural category (one of my favorite categories despite being a huge scaredy cat). I saw a picture from the 1987 one and it looked like the cover of a smutty romance novel. Definitely piques my interest haha.
Fast forwarding to 2017 and the latest (possibly greatest?) adaption of Beauty and the Beast. First off, Emma Watson, one of my girl heroes since childhood, Hermione freaking Granger, as Belle is probably the best thing in the world to me. All of the actors in this movie did an amazing job in breathing life back into these characters. Most of the songs from the movie are on my phone and I listen to them on a weekly basis (used to be daily but I’ve calmed down a bit). I just love how the added songs. I love that they answered all the questions that I didn’t realize I had about the 1991 version. I love that gut wrenching scene at the end *SPOILER* because despite knowing they were all going to survive, my heart was absolutely breaking as they became inanimate.
Well done Disney. Well done.
So there is my review of Beauty and the Beast that nobody asked for. I’ve been mildly obsessing over this story for over twenty years so I’m a little surprised this isn’t longer.
Thanks for reading! Peace!